Monthly Archives: July 2012

I love this job….

David Smith, Project Coordinator for Creative Learning on his visit to a school in West Lancashire…

I made a mistake…

I like to arrive early for an appointment.  Arriving at 8-45am in a primary school in West Lancashire I was met by a lovely lady in the School Office who told me that I wasn’t expected until 10-30am when the teacher would be available.  “Don’t sit in the meeting room on your own“, she said, “come into the Hall, we have a special assembly for our Reception children; you are welcome to join us…

The Hall was packed.  Over 200 children were quietly making their way in, joined by over a 100 noisy parents and grandparents. The whole assembly of 45 minutes was delivered by 60 Reception children.  The theme was ‘Animals of Africa’.

The children were organised in groups of about 12.  Each group was a group of: zebras, lions, crocodiles or monkeys.  The children had made their own masks, and were simply costumed.  Each group performed to a simple formula to demonstrate their learning: a dance to music and a song.  The more able in the group acted out a simple script as explorers encountering the animals. Even we were involved in actions and singing… I made an amazing monkey of myself! You could have sold tickets!

So what did all this show?  Well, five groups of 5-6 year old children showed off what they had learned about Africa: its animals, its flora, its terrain, its climate.  And they did it through the arts – through drama, through song, through dance, through art and through their own creative ideas.

I couldn’t have had a more wonderful start to my day. It was a reminder of the quality of what is being delivered in our schools, of the quality of our teachers and the quality of leadership which provides the vision that puts children and the arts at the centre of learning.

Arts Awards in Burnley

Meet Caitlin and Charlotte who are working on their Bronze Arts Awards and need your help. They have written reviews of Souvenir d’Anne Frank which they watched at Burnley Youth Theatre. Please do read their reviews below and comment.

Caitlin and Charlotte developing their skills behind the camera.

Caitlin and Charlotte have been working with Steph and Lucy at MPA since last summer when they performed a piece of multi-media site-specific promenade theatre in Victoria Mill, Burnley as part of Project Pride.  Since then they have contributed to a youth consultation giving rich insight into their experience of arts and culture in Pennine Lancashire.

Here are their reviews. Please do comment with your thoughts.

Charlotte:

This is the show that my drama class and I went to see at Burnley Youth Theatre. We hadn’t been told anything about this mysterious play, only that it was by a group called ‘Ensemble’ and that is was an abstract piece of art. I was a bit put out because I don’t generally like abstract things but I thought that, as an actress I should try to gain as much experience of all types of the performing arts industry that I can.

However, after I saw the performance I didn’t really like it and didn’t understand what some of the things the actors did were supposed to represent. However, the music (which was played on-stage, right in front of us!) was incredibly moving and somehow showed the story better than the actors! And the lighting and set up of the stage – though simple – created a very tense and subtle atmosphere. All of this I told the actors at the end in a questions and answers session, and told them politely how I thought they could improve their performance to enhance it. All in all I found the performance boring, moving and really contradictory all at once.

Caitlin:

The event I went to was a performance of ‘Souvenir d’Anne Frank’. It was a theatre performance at Burnley Youth Theatre. I liked it because it was an abstract performance about Anne Frank and the rose named after her. It explored a period of history that I find particularly interesting. I thought the acting in the piece was amazing because it was a different way of performing that opened my eyes to a different style of acting. It was different from what I expected as it was far more abstract and stylized than I thought it would be.  I felt that the best bit was the stage. The simple use of plastic roses and shredded tires to create a circle, almost like a rose bush, it just had such a moving effect on me. It was a skill of using simple objects to create elaborate set is one that will help me in my art.  As part of the audience, it was slightly confusing in parts but was an overall very pleasing performance with strong emotive language and actions, as well as using music and dance in an effective performance. I would recommend it to people who have am interest in both Holocaust theatre and abstract. As it is both those things, it is also an overall very good piece of theatre.

This is my reaction to the piece and I hope you enjoyed reading about it.

What do you think of Caitlin and Charlotte’s views? Have you seen the show? Would you like to now?

You can see more of Caitlin and Charlotte in the Curious Voices film to which they contributed for Curious Minds.